Medusa–An Unnatural History
by Robbi Nester

Poor girl, always losing
your head, sucker
for the sharp sting
of momentary passion.

The sea god saw you
walking by the shore,
and claimed you,
drawing you further
and further out to sea,
a boat without a rudder
or a sail.

You were lithe and elegant then,
beautiful as the surf,
golden curls flowing
down your back,
but bound to the goddess at birth,
promising to remain
chaste and cold
as the marble maiden
drawing her bow
on the temple portico.

All these years hence,
you have returned
to the subtle sea
carried at its will,
shimmering circle
of protoplasm,
fringed with tentacles,
riding the night-blue waves.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  This poem was part of a challenge posed by regulars at The Ugly Mug, in Orange, California, where I go frequently for evenings of poetry and friendship. We were supposed to write a Medusa poem. I am not crazy about writing mythological poems, but I am a sucker for poems about the natural world. Knowing that a “medusa” is the technical term for a sexually mature jellyfish, I thought I’d write an “unnatural history” about how it came to be called that. I read it at the Mug on Oct. 1st, an evening when a bunch of people also read their own contributions on this subject.

IMAGE: “Head of Medusa” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (15th century).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Robbi Nester is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide Press, 2014). She has also edited an anthology of poems inspired by NPR and PBS stories, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes Press, 2014) and writes book reviews for The New York Quarterly Journal of Books and serves as an Executive Editor for Slippage, a journal of literature and science. She has published poetry, reviews, interviews, essays, and articles in many journals and anthologies, including Lummox, Poemelion, Inlandia, Broadsided, Poetic Diversity, and many others. Her poems are forthcoming in Cimmaron Review and Poetic Diversity.